According to a new study conducted by the Washington Times newspaper, the 2011 112th Congress was the “most futile” and least productive since records began being kept in 1947.
For many conservatives, fewer laws passing–and the spending that often comes with them– may seem like a reason to cheer. But as the Washington Times points out, because so many entitlement programs operate on autopilot spending increases, government spending grows automatically even when bills aren’t passed.
The new report appears to have sparked a new round of the Washington blame game:
Spokesmen for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, did not respond to questions about the lack of action.
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart did offer a brief statement that Democrats’ 2012 agenda appears to be the same as in 2011.
“Legislation that will be pushed will be what polls well, rather than what could feasibly be passed into law,” he said.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Mr. Reid blamed Republicans in the House for pushing what he said were the wrong issues.
“We’ve spent months on things that used to happen just matter-of-factly,” he said. “I would hope that they understand that everything doesn’t have to be a fight. Legislation is the art of working together, building consensus, compromise.”
“Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory countered that the House is passing legislation, including a budget, which Senate Democrats haven’t accomplished for two years.
Mr. Reid again blamed Republicans, who he said were using the Senate’s minority-friendly rules to defy him.
“The Senate works on consensus. And we haven’t been able to get that because the Republicans, I repeat for the third time, I want to make sure everyone understands this: obstructionism on steroids,” he said.
Look for President Barack Obama to use the study to frame a Truman-esque “do nothing Congress” campaign strategy come November. Look for Republicans to frame Mr. Obama’s lack of legislative accomplishments as the results of a “do nothing President.”